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The Children's Bookshelf: Angelina and the Valentine's Day Surprise - February 7, 2022


Angelina and the Valentine’s Day Surprise written by Katharine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig, a creative team that has delighted young readers for decades, is a small paper over board picture book with a big message about appreciation, friendship and love.

It’s Valentine’s Day in Angelina’s village of Chipping Cheddar and she’s busy delivering homemade valentines for the special people in her life. They include her ballet teacher Miss Lily, Grandma and Grampa Mouseling, best friend Alice, her favorite shop owner Mrs. Thimble and her little cousin Henry. The reader sees her spreading love at each stop as she delivers her cards and her homemade sugar cookies too.

The fun inherent in each of her visits is the fact that the reader can enjoy each of Angelina’s valentines because they appear in a pull tab format throughout the book. Young readers can touch, pull out and read them all.

The 18 illustrations are dressed in shades of pink and are full of sweet details especially inside Grandma and Grandpa’s house. The big surprise, however, awaits readers on the final page where they can read a valentine written by Angelina especially to them!

Angelina and the Valentine’s Day Surprise written sweetly by Katharine Holabird and illustrated with tasty details by Helen Craig is a perfect picture book treat for young readers 3-7 years of age (Simon Spotlight/Simon and Schuster, 2022).

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

   Activity Questions for Angelina and the Valentine’s Day Surprise

Angelina loves making Valentine’s Day cards for the special people in her life. Who are they? Who are the special people in your life? Think about that and make a list of them including printing “a note of love” as to why they are each special to you.

Gather construction paper, colored pencils, sparkles, paste and such. Then draw large valentine shapes on which to print your notes of love to family members. Cut them out with the help of a sibling or parent if needed. Print one of your valentine messages on each of your valentines and decorate. Surprise family members with them----perhaps during the next morning at the breakfast table. Notes of love can be handed out anytime of the year.

For youngest children: Find these details in the illustration of Angelina’s kitchen when she finds valentines addressed to her on the table: a basket, a pink bow, an umbrella, valentine balloons, four chairs, cupcakes, a set of keys, a teapot and a cake.

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.